Doctor What!

by Software Foundation: A.K. Fox
Crash Issue 35, December 1986   (1986-11-20)   page(s) 128

Producer: CRL
Retail Price: £7.95
Author: A.K. Fox

Four foolish timelords, doctors, What, When, Where and Why are getting themselves into a bit of a scrape. They got together for a reunion party: large amounts of Neuro Cardinal Cocktails were consumed but getting home after that party wasn't something any of them had actually considered.

Thus the four Doctors find themselves stuck is four different locations with thumping great hangovers and very hostile environments to contend with. The four doctors must take a trip and visit the Jelly Baby of Infinite Wisdom and Ultimate Knowledge who lives in the tower of Darabur, a place newly as remote as Crash towers. In order to get to this guru Jelly Baby each Doctor must be transported via the Trydis to a certain location. From there all four doctors must make the it way to the tower of Darabur for the ultimate confrontation.

Each of the four doctors is stuck in a different location. Doctor Why is stuck in What's laboratory. Dr What is stuck under a sheer cliff face which seems totally impossible to climb. Doctor When is lost in a hostile forest full of horrible beings and Where is being hassled by some very nasty Daleks. The general idea is to extricate each doctor from his nasty predicament and get him into his Trydis to rendezvous with the other doctors.

Various objects can be picked up along the way which are essential in order to finish the game. Each Doctor can on carry three objects at one time. Time can be picked by pressing the relevant key and dropped and used at any time during the game. Some of the objects will disable a nasty such as the baseball cap which, when thrown will slip over the marauding Dalek's head and stop it from moving.

Each Doctor has a certain amount of energy, which is represented by a magenta jelly baby on the bottom right hand corner of the screen. This energy is lost every time the doctor collides with any of the monsters in the game and this is shown by the jelly baby gradually being eaten away. If one of the Doctor's should die in this way then it will be impossible to finish the game.

Control of the Doctors can be changed by pressing keys one through to four. The Doctor you are currently controlling is shown at the bottom right hand corner of the screen. The middle section shows what objects are being held by the Doctor you're controlling.

The game ends when all four Doctors are at the Jelly Baby of Infinite wisdom. It will now tell you your IQ depending on how you managed to get that far in the game.


Control keys: definable
Joystick: any
Keyboard play: responsive
Use of colour nasty, garish with lots of clashes
Graphics: naff
Sound: boring spot effects
Skill levels: one
Screens: approximately 40 to 50

Dr What would probably be a lot easier to play and a lot more appeallng if the instructions told you something about the game? After a sly chat to the people at CRL (which didn't really make anything clearer) I was just about to admit defeat when low and behold for no reason apparent I managed to transport myself, gosh! Could I do it again, you must be joking. The graphics are below average for this type of game, there is lots of colour clash and the characters move badly. The sound is dire, there are no tunes and virtually no spot effects during the game. On the whole this is an unpleasing game to play so I wouldn't recommend it.

WHAT the hell is this? WHEN can I pull the plug out, please? WHERE does it go? and, WHY the hell release it? just a few of the questions I asked myself when I started to play this rubbish. Dr. What is obviously, from the packaging, suppose to be a rip off of the BBC's Dr. Who, and a very dismal effort it is. The graphics are average, sound is practically non-existant, and playability is kept to a minimum. I shouldn't think many people would go wild over Dr. What - that is if CRL don't get sued first.

It's been a long hard month. Just as I thought I was getting to the end of it with my sanity intact, this comes along. CRL really don't do themselves any favours by releasing this sort of thing. The aardvark fan is a hard man to please, and I some how don't think this is going to come up to the mark. Instructions are minimal, graphics are dull and generally I can think of no good reason to buy this even if it was on CRL's budget label.

Use of Computer: 41%
Graphics: 38%
Playability: 28%
Getting Started: 16%
Addictive Qualities: 19%
Value for Money: 12%
Overall: 17%

Summary: General Rating: A nasty steaming dollop of What.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 13, January 1987   page(s) 79

A questionable program featuring Doctors What, Where, When and Why... but don't ask where Who is in case the BBC decides to sue. Obviously all these interrogative medicoes are no relation to the televisual time-traveller, even if they do have time machines shaped like police boxes. You get the idea?

Its plot could finish the TV series faster than a decision to let Bonnie Langford sing and dance her way out of danger every week. It all concerns hang-overs and a trip to the Jelly Baby of Infinite Wisdom - which gives you an idea of the sort of party the Doctors were attending to get in this confused state!

But despite all this Hitchhikers Guide to Time Travel-style parody, at heart these four travellers remind me more of another hero whose name begins with a W... Wally Week! The game is just another example of the 'pick up objects and find where to use them' school. The puzzles are refined by the use of four characters, each trapped in a different era. but able to bring each other vital objects thanks to their trusty time machines.

But in the end a program should reach into the future, and I couldn't help feeling that the time destination for this one was set for a good two years ago. I was left with only one question in my brain - why release this at full price in this day and age?

Graphics: 6/10
Playability: 7/10
Value For Money: 5/10
Addictiveness: 5/10
Overall: 6/10

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 58, January 1987   page(s) 106

Oh No! I Why did I get this? Doctor What! I mean there is a title that says "this is going to be a fun filled game that isn't the slightest bit funny".

I think it's supposed to be a spoof of Dr Who (he said pointlessly). A spoof if you think that Trydis rather than Tardis is funny. Doubtless CRL will ship a few before the BBC's lawyers start to send them nasty letters.

Dr What is a very basic Spellbound-style game. It has object that you pick up, store and use in various unlikely ways. You, the Doctor, are a large sprite, movement looks not so much jerky, more as if rigor mortis has set in.

The plot? Well there are these four Doctors (yes, four) called ... What, When, Where and Why? Why? is the question I keep asking myself. Each Doctor has his (?) own tremendously amusing problem, although finding a key to the Trydis (usually just lying around) means you can zip off somewhere else.

To be generous there was one reasonably Okish sort of problem I came across - a cliff face to be climbed where the shape of particular rocks gave you a clue to a route up, get it wrong and you fall.

Mostly, however, the game is spent jumping up on tables and collecting objects that don't look like what the status screen says they are. If there is relatively little attribute clash it's only because of the lack of detail in most of the graphics.

Surely it should have been a budget offering - it is certainly inferior to Spellbound and yet sells for £7.95. Maybe CRL are thinking of those legal cost.

Label: CRL
Author: Software Foundation
Price: £7.95
Joystick: Cursor etc
Memory: 48K/128K
Reviewer: Jim Douglas


Overall: 2/5

Summary: Tired variation on the Spellbound formula. Tries very hard to be funny but fails miserably. Better as budget.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Computer & Videogames Issue 63, January 1987   page(s) 57

MACHINE: Spectrum
PRICE: £7.95

What is where Why should be, but When is with Where and what they are up to is anybody's guess! Where What is, why Where is where What is and When will What get to where Where is and when Why will arrive are just some of the questions which remain to be answered when you play CRL's mind-boggling arcade adventure Dr What! That and how to get to see the Jelly Baby of infinite Wisdom, of course.

This game sneaked out pretty much unheralded through a time-warp somewhere in East London. And before we go any further I'd like to point out that it has absolutely no connection whatsoever with the long running TV show, Dr Who. Just because the heroes are Time Lords doesn't mean a thing. And anyway, Who isn't where What - (Don't start that again! Ed).

You control the four Doctor's who start the game in four different locations. But if you help them find the Trydis(!) keys they'll be able to start time-travelling around all over the place.

The game is packed with arcade adventure type puzzles - with extra added CRL type humour. Objects have to be found and used in order to complete certain tasks - but quite what the final, ultimate, meaning of life, universe and everything object of the game isn't quite clear. Yet. I'm sure one of you will be able to tell us what it's all about in the near future.

To start you off here's a couple of tips. One of the doctor's will come across a Dalek who wants to exterminate, exterminate, exterminate him. He has at his disposal a baseball hat. He should pick up the hat and USE it, by hitting the appropriate key. The hat will fly through the air with the greatest of ease and land on the dalek's head, blinding him and rendering him totally useless.

Moving on, he'll come across Pruneface the daleks' boss. This unsavory character fires laser beams at the Doc. He can be beaten by getting a mirror from the bathroom - sounds like a cue for a song! - and USE it to reflect the beam back at Prunechops knocking him out.

That's the sort bf lateral thinking Dr What! demands from the player.

You can play the game if only one doctor is left alive but you're obviously not going to complete the came single handed.

Graphics are good, sound is as you'd expect and gameplay is, well, arcade actionish. The puzzles are funny and not too hard to beat.

Dr What! is a surprisingly entertaining offering with a few original twists. If you're an arcade adventure addict, you won't want to miss it.

Graphics: 7/10
Sound: 7/10
Value: 9/10
Playability: 8/10

Award: C+VG Hit

Transcript by Chris Bourne

ZX Computing Issue February 1987   page(s) 40


After a heavy intergalactic party where the supplies of Neuro Cardial cocktails have taken a bit of a battering, the four Doctors, What, When, Why and Where are all suffering from various degrees of a hangover. What is even worse is that they all lost in four different places deep within the space time continuum. Can they sort things out using their Trydis? This is beginning to sound like a spoof on a well known TV character. 'Who?' you ask. 'Correct', everyone replies.

The four Doctors have got to try and reach the Jelly Baby of Infinite Wisdom and Ultimate Knowledge who is stuck away in the Tower of Darabur somewhere. The first problem is to try and get the Doctors reassembled in one spot and quite tricky this proves to be. Why is in What's laboratory and is the only Doctor with access to a key to allow him to enter and use the Trydis. Each Doctor can carry and use up to three articles at any given time. There is a row of buttons in each Trydis. Pressing a button teleports you to a specific location.

Each Doctor has only a limited amount of strength, depicted by a jelly baby being nibbled away in the bottom right hand corner of the screen. Collisions with the nasties, including a Dalek, are the major source of energy loss. Each of the Doctors can be summoned as and when you want them. But be warned, if one of the Doctors dies, your quest is effectively over so abort that particular game and start again.

As a game, Doctor What raises several questions: WHAT is the point of all this? WHERE is their dictionary so that they can learn how to spell 'transcendental' properly? WHEN will CRL realise that they can't get away with releasing poor quality, full price games? And WHY didn't they consign this load of rubbish to that great Jelly Baby in the Sky a long time ago?

Overall: Groan

Award: ZX Computing Glob Senior

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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